Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels

Project planning
July 29, 2020

A solar panel system can impact the way you enjoy and utilize your home. By adopting solar energy, you can cut down on utility costs, create a more comfortable living space, and reduce your environmental impact, all while creating a more energy efficient home.

When financing solar panel systems, most homeowners find themselves faced with two options: buying solar panels or leasing them. Both offer advantages, but which is right for your home?

Let's take a look at the benefits and potential disadvantages of each.

Purchasing Solar Panels

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Purchasing Solar Panels

Pros of Buying Solar Panels

Tax credits: If you own solar panels you may qualify for the current government credits and rebates . Check out local and federal regulations to determine if tax rebates are available to you.

Payback: Solar panels may end up paying for themselves. Depending on how much energy you use, and how much you pay for your solar energy system, you may be able to recoup your investment through increased property value and potential utility savings.

Cons of Buying Solar Panels

Maintenance: If you own solar panels, you’re responsible for scheduling maintenance and dealing with any issues that may arise.

A lengthy timeline: While you may eventually be able to recoup your investment costs through energy savings and increased home value, it may take several years—you won’t see positive returns overnight.

Leasing Solar Panels

Leasing Solar Panels

Pros of Leasing Solar Panels

No down payment: If you lease solar panels, you generally pay $0 down—simply pay your solar panel leasing company to use the system.

No maintenance: Typically, the solar leasing company takes responsibility for all repair and maintenance issues, which can mean your system is hands-off.

Cons of Leasing Solar Panels

No tax benefits: Because you don't own the solar panels, you don't benefit from government tax breaks and credits—your solar leasing company does.

Potentially Reduced Savings: Some solar leases contain an escalator clause that may reduce your savings, as payments increase by 3 percent each year. If the cost of energy doesn’t increase at the same rate as the contracted lease payments, you may lose savings.

Find a local solar contractor

When choosing between buying solar panels and leasing solar systems, it's important to base the decision on your individual needs. Whether you buy or lease your system, the sooner you get started, the sooner you can reap these benefits—so what are you waiting for?